Sunday, February 28, 2016

It's Monday! Weird Blessings

This week was a little better for reading. I finally finished up Leaves of Grass during a slower shift at work. The next shift I was frustrated because I forgot to take it out of my bag and put a new book in but then I had a crazy busy shift that night so it worked out that I didn't need a book to fill my time. Weird blessings. :)
My little sister and I have been watching through the TV Show Lark Rise to Candleford together and we just finished season three.... those last couple episodes were traumatic! There's way too much drama in that show! Now on to season four... which is the last season, which is kind of sad, but also exciting because I can't wait to find out how it all concludes.
I recently found a website called Thrift Books, which is my new best friend but it's an evil best friend because it just tempts me to buy more books.... but they're cheaper! ;) Copies of The Martian and The Blue Castle just came in and I'm so excited to read them soon!

Currently Reading

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr- Finally started it and liking it so far! 
  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
  • The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss (re-read) (audiobook)

Finished this Past Week

  • Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman- So glad to be done with this one finally! 
  • Mr. Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange- Read this in two sittings! Another sweet entry in the diary series. :) 
  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)- Cozy and lovely. :) 

Coming Soon

  • Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • The Blue Castle by L.M Montgomery 

Posts this Week

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Happy Tag

I saw this Happy Tag over on Hamlette's blog and at Coffee, Classics and Craziness and I decided I just had to do it!


  • Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery 
  • Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 
  • The Golf Omnibus by P.G. Wodehouse
  • Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling


  • Gauche
  • Spoilers
  • Beguiling 
  • Indubitably 
  • Inconceivable 
  • Serendipitous 


  • Doctor Who (2005)
  • Pride and Prejudice (1995) 
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
  • Singing in the Rain (1952)
  • Star Wars- 4,5,6 and 7
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982)
  • Mclintock (1963) 
  • TOO MANY.... See my Movies and TV Shows tab for more! 


  • Coffee
  • Fresh baked bread
  • Freshly mown grass
  • Spring rain 
  • Old books

Songs- Some of these I'm embarrassed to admit but it's true. 

  • Shake it Off (Taylor Swift)
  • Hooked on a Feeling (Blue Swede)
  • Me and the Moon (Gaelic Storm) 
  • Star Wars Theme (John Williams)
  • Shut up and Dance (Walk the Moon)
  • Doctor Who Theme
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers barn dance music 
  • Barbara Ann (Beach Boys) 
  • Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (Andrew Sisters) 
  • Most all of Celtic Woman's songs but especially At the Ceili, Spanish Lady and When You Go
  • Any Gilbert and Sullivan music but especially "With Cat Like Tread" from The Pirates of Penzance and Dance a Cachucha from The Gondeliers. 
  • Make 'Em Laugh and Moses from Singing in the Rain 
  • Do-Re-Mi from The Sound of Music
  • Concerning Hobbits from the LOTR soundtrack by Howard Shore 
  • And I got a little carried away.... I love music. :) 


  • Opening Christmas presents
  • Chocolate
  • Fruit Snacks :) 
  • Family
  • Listening to music
  • Geeking out about my favorite book, movie or TV show. :) 
  • When a patient says thank you. :) 
So yeah, these are a few of my favorite things. ;) 
What are yours?
Consider yourself tagged because I'd love to see all of my friends answers for this. Just doing this tag made me smile as I thought about all of the things that make me happy. :) It's like therapy... and it's free! ;) 

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Movie Review- Vanity Fair (1998)

A couple years ago I read William Thackeray's novel Vanity Fair. I always meant to watch a film version of it but it's obviously taken me a little while to get around to it.
So (finally) for the Period Drama Challenge I watched the 1998 miniseries of Vanity Fair.
Spoilers follow.
Summary: School friends Becky and Amelia leave school together, Amelia for home and Becky for a quick visit with her friend before leaving for a life as a governess. The sweet Amelia becomes engaged to her childhood sweetheart George Osborne. The mercenary and beautiful Becky immediately sets about trying to seduce Amelia's gullible and indolent brother Joss but ends up failing in that endeavor due to George's interference, as he sees through her. Becky sets off to her first governess position and there tries to seduce first her employer and then both of her employers sons. She captures Rawdon Crawley's heart and they marry much to the disapproval of his rich aunt who disowns him. Meanwhile Amelia's father goes bankrupt and therefore George's father forbids him to marry Amelia. George's friend William Dobbin though convinces him to go through with the marriage though as he knows it will break Amelia's heart if he doesn't. George and Amelia marry and soon after head out with the militia as well as Rawdon and Becky. At the military base Becky shamelessly flirts with George Osborne to get back at him for dissuading Joss from marrying her. George is already wearying of his marriage and returns Becky's flirtation, even inviting her to run away with him. The battle of Waterloo interrupts the flirtation though and Dobbin, George and Rawdon must all go to battle. George dies in battle, leaving Amelia brokenhearted and pregnant. Several years later Amelia and her son are living with her destitute parents, secretly supported by Dobbin. Becky also had a son and with Rawdon they are living in a fashion far above what they can afford in order to climb the social ladder. Becky's methods of climbing though are far from moral and Rawdon finds her with Lord Sedley. Rawdon, who until then had always thought Becky faithful to him, though of course she had her little flirtations, realizes this is not so and they separate. Dobbin finally confesses his love to Amelia who cannot see past her love for her first husband so refuses him. Two years later Dobbin, Joss, Amelia and Amelia's son are touring in Germany and run into Becky, who has fallen in life, drinking and gambling. She once agains tries to seduce the gullible Joss who then encourages Amelia to welcome back her old friend. The ever affectionate Amelia does, much to Dobbin's chagrin who reminds Amelia how Becky once flirted with George. Amelia cannot bare to hear her revered husband so spoken of and throws George away. George leaves, concluding that he could never get Amelia to love him as she is wrapped up in the memory of her first husband. Becky though, in a turn of kindness, shows Amelia the note that George gave her so many years before asking her to run away with him. Amelia realizes that she has rejected the better man for a memory of someone she wished was better. She goes after George and they marry. 
As far as the book to movie adaptation goes it was pretty close. When you have 300 minutes though you can get quite a bit in. :)


Becky Sharp Crawley (Natasha Little)- She's like a mixture of Cynthia Kirkpatrick (Wives and Daughters) and Scarlett O'Hara (Gone With the Wind) on steroids of evil! She has no morals and no real feelings. She's in it for the money and power and she'll do anything for those. She's called an anti-hero but I think that's pushing it. I think the actress did a great job portraying her. She had not qualms about portraying the utterly immoral and heartless Becky Sharp portrayed in the book. I don't like Cynthia and I really don't like Scarlett and when you combine those on the aforementioned evil steroids you get someone I really despise. Becky Sharp is one of my least favorite characters in literature.
Amelia Sedley Osborne (Frances Grey)- Amelia is kind of like Melanie Wilkes from Gone With the Wind. I know I'm drawing a lot of Gone With the Wind comparisons.... sorry! She's sweet and kind and wouldn't think badly of anyone. Melanie I can tolerate pretty well and really I came to love her. Amelia just drives me nuts! She's obsessed with her idealized image of her dead husband and she can't see past that. Because of that, she never gives Dobbin a chance until Becky does the one nice(ish) thing and burst Amelia's bubble about her husband.
William Dobbin (Phillip Glenister)- The one character I like. He's so kind and self-sacrificing. He sticks by Amelia throughout it all, supporting her after her husband dies. He even helps to get her and George together even though he loves Amelia himself. He knows that Amelia will only be happy with George so he makes that sacrifice. If he hadn't ended up with Amelia after everything though I would have been so mad!
Rawdon Crawley (Nathaniel Parker)- You might recognize this actor from playing Harold Skimpole in Bleak House or as Arthur's uncle in The Adventures of Merlin. Rawdon is a lot like Becky in his mercenary endeavors. He is innocent though of the depths that Becky will go to. He seems to have a stricter moral compass than Becky when he is horrified by her affair with Lord Sedley and splits with her.
George Osborne (Tom Ward)- You might recognize this actor from playing Colonel Fitzwilliam in Death Comes to Pemberly. George is kind of complicated. He was raised in comfort to be selfish, vain and self-bosessed. He does some things right but overall he just messes up majorly. He fights back against his father to go through with marrying Amelia but some of that was by Dobbin's pushing and prodding. In the end though he would have betrayed Amelia for Becky.

Other actors that I personally recognized are Anton Lesser (Mr. Merdle in Little Dorrit), Sylvestera Le Touzel (Fanny Price in Mansfield Park), David Bradley (Filch in Harry Potter, Solomon in one episode of Doctor Who, Rogue Ridherhood in Our Mutual Friend and much more!), and Miriam Margolyes (Professor Sprout in Harry Potter).


Not too much nature scenery is seen but the shots of the elegant London houses are beautiful. 


One of the few period dramas where I'm not crazy about the music. There were a lot of weird trumpets. 


I loved the costumes in this film! For the most part I preferred Becky's outfits to Amelia's. Becky's did tend to be more immodest though, which fit her character, but obviously I didn't prefer that part of her outfits. It is nigh next to impossible though to find pictures of this miniseries though so if you want to see the lovely outfits beyond what I've posted in the above pictures (which were hard enough to track down) you'll have to watch it.

Content Advisory

The story involves a woman who uses her sex appeal left and right with heavy flirting. This might go over young viewers heads as 90% of it is implicit and not explicit. As far as things being shown for the most part nothing is, which is surprising for the content matter. When Rawdon finds Becky and Lord Sedley together they are both fully clothed lying on a couch together but the implications are there. There are some low cut dress, mostly on Becky. George also tells Joss that Becky wasn't the kind of girl you had to marry "if you know what I mean". Besides those though it stays pretty clean. I felt comfortable watching it with my little sister and I never felt like I needed to fast forward or dim my screen. Everyone's standards are different though so before showing it to younger children I always encourage you preview the film first. 

Overall I though it was a good adaptation. Vanity Fair is not one of my favorite books but it is very interesting and for the most part enjoyable and I found this miniseries the same. 

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

It's Monday! Glub, Glub, Glub

That's the sound of Lois sinking. That's what work was like this past week. :( I survived though! :)
So yeah, reading didn't kick off too well either because of that but a little happened at least. :)
One of my friends posted this to my FB wall
this past week and I loved it and had to share! 

Currently Reading

  • The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
  • The Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman- Never again am I slogging through a book of poetry! 
  • The Swiss Family Robinson (re-read) (audiobook)
  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)

Finished this past week

  • Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)- Just as warm and cozy as always. :) 

Coming Soon

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • Mr. Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange
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Friday, February 19, 2016

Book Review- The Old Curiosity Shop

The Old Curiosity ShopFor the Library Reading Challenge, Back to the Classics Challenge, Read England Challenge and the Classics Club I read Charles Dickens novel The Old Curiosity Shop.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Giants, dwarfs, tricksters--here is the dark side of Dickens at its most powerful and bizarre. The story of 'Little Nell' gripped the nation when it first appeared. Described as a 'tragedy of sorrows', it tells of Nell uprooted from a secure and innocent childhood and cast into a world where evil takes many shapes, the most fascinating of which is the stunted, lecherous Quilp. He is Nell's tormentor and destroyer, and it is his demonic energy that dominates the book. The Old Curiosity Shop is a novel of contrasts: youth and old age, beauty and deformity, freedom and restraint. Expansively comic, sentimentally tragic, it is sometimes fairytale, sometimes myth and often Victorian life at its most bleak--haunted by the figures that live in the shadows, some of the strongest of Dickens's many creations.
Spoilers follow. 
This was probably my least favorite of Dickens' novels, though still enjoyable. I know it was stunningly popular when it came out back in the day so I'm probably just alone in my opinions. I'm not quite sure what it is I didn't like about but I'll try to speak to it as best I can. I think it all goes back to theology so bear with me. I remember a conversation years ago where my dad stated (and I think I've read this somewhere before too) the problem with Dickens is that he believes in the innocence of children. I know that all can be kind of controversial and I'm not going to sit here and argue that in a blog post but long and short of it is that I don't see any biblical basis for believing in the innocence of children. So back to the book, I felt like this theology seeped into The Old Curiosity Shop strongly in the shape of "Little Nell". Perfect, sweet and untainted Nell. Sickeningly sweet. Nell also has a crazy grandfather who has tried to make a fortune for her by borrowing money off of evil Quilp and then using it at the gambling table. Yeah, that didn't work out so well. Maybe it is just me but I couldn't figure out if her grandfather was already crazy at the beginning or he just became crazy after he got the shock of realizing he was ruined. I don't know but the long and short of it is I think the real word for him is "jerk". He drove me crazy and I'm sorry but if I was Nell I would not have put up with all of that. It was just ridiculous. There were far better options I'm sure. For one, taking up Kit's offer of moving in with his family. Yeah I know that Nell couldn't because her grandfather had some sudden explicable dislike of Kit but I don't think that's a valid excuse. Hello he was crazy! I just think Nell's decision were stupid. She was putting up with a lot from her grandfather and the decisions weren't easy ones at all but I think she could have made a few better decisions. I saw this quote HERE in a review of the book and I liked how it described Nell and her grandfather. "Nell and her grandfather were so melodramatically pathetic that, although I felt sorry for their situation, I couldn't get myself to really care about the outcome." I really like how the reviewer put that and I think that is so true! In the end Nell dies and sure it was sad but I really didn't feel too touched by it. I just wanted her grandfather to die so she could live a normal life. Yeah he does die... but AFTERWARDS so it doesn't count. :( 
Now there were things I like about the book. Kit for example was my favorite character. He's kind, dedicated and hardworking. I really thought that him and Nell should get together but I think it worked in the end that they didn't... all things considered they couldn't  *ahem spoilers*. I also really liked Dick Swiveller. At the beginning you don't care for him too much and you aren't supposed to but he really improves. And duh of course him and the Marchioness belong together! I shipped them. ;) Quilp the villain was well done I thought. He was convincingly evil. I felt sorry for his wife but my feeling sorry for her only went so far because I was absolutely fed up with her for still liking him. Some of the secondary characters were quite interesting. The people that Nell and her grandfather meet on the road are interesting and sometimes humorous as well. The Bass siblings were evil but rather hilarious. I love Swiveller's commentary on them. This quote is one of my favorites. 
"It's no use asking the dragon," thought Dick one day, as he sat contemplating the features of Miss Sally Brass, "I suspect if I asked any questions on that head our alliance would be at an end. I wonder whether she is a dragon by-the-by, or something in the mermaid way. She has rather a scaly appearance. But mermaids are fond of looking at themselves in the glass, which she can't be. And they have a habit of combing their hair, which she hasn't. No, she must be a dragon.
See what I mean? Hilarious! There were other little things like that were quite enjoyable and funny. It was humorous how Dickens referred to a lot of characters as "the dragon" or "the single gentlemen" and didn't name them.
I think this book is definitely about contrasts, as the synopsis points out. Maybe that was part of what turned me off from this book. The contrasts were too strongly emphasized. I'm not sure.
I did like it but it just wasn't up to others of Dickens' novels. My feelings are mixed. I don't feel like my feelings on this books come together too well. They're all muddled. However that's the best review I can come up with. :)

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Movie Review- Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)

I'm participating in Olf Fashioned Charm's 2016 Period Drama Film Challenge. One of the first films Laurie herself reviewed was the 2015 version of Far From the Madding Crowd. I'd already been wanting to watch it since it has Carey Mulligan in it but had held off because I wasn't sure how appropriate it was. After reading her review though I felt comfortable watching it and I was able to enjoy it with my mother this past weekend.
Synopsis from IMDB: The story of independent, beautiful and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), who attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching willfulness; Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge), a handsome and reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood (Michael Sheen), a prosperous and mature bachelor. This timeless story of Bathsheba's choices and passions explores the nature of relationships and love - as well as the human ability to overcome hardships through resilience and perseverance.
I'm going to preface this review by saying it's been a little while since I've read the book so I'm not 100% sure on how accurate this movie is. All that to say, as far as I recall it was pretty accurate. Since it was a movie and not a miniseries it wasn't as complete of an adaptation and at times it felt a little rushed but for the time frame (approximately two hours) that it had I thought it was well executed. Watching the movie definitely made me want to re-read the book though!
Now on to the rest!


Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan)- I have loved Carey Mulligan in the roles I've seen her in and she did not disappoint this time either. She's gorgeous, she's got spirit and she is old enough to show the more mature side of Bathsheba but youthful enough looking to show her immature and impetuous side. She brought Bathsheba to life for me.
Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts)- Gabriel Oak is one of my favorite literary heroes. I'd never seen Matthias Schoenaerts in anything before but he did an incredible job with one of my favorite characters. He's honorable, caring, disciplined and also kind of handsome. ;) He was so perfect in his role and he made me fall in love with Farmer Oak all over again.
Frank Troy (Tom Sturridge)- Good but nothing spectacular. He does a good job of showing that he does seem to actually care for Fanny but he also shows his absolutely selfish and sensual nature.
William Boldwood (Michael Sheen)- Good job here! He doesn't act too old or too young. He plays a tortured man to perfection and I truly felt sorry for him.


This is more a critique of the book plot than the movie plot as this is a book based movie. I was so frustrated with Bathsheba throughout the movie. She's so immature and she thinks she knows what she is doing the whole time and she keeps messing up! I mean how immature is it to send poor Mr. Boldwood that Valentine? She kind of ruins his life. However Bathsheba does have a lot of gumption and she is always willing to do everything her workers do, which I admire about her. She is kind but she is horrible at giving a straight answer to men! I love that the whole time, with no expectations after being turned down, Gabriel Oak is always there standing by her, giving her advice and seeing her through her mistakes. Throughout the film I felt like Bathsheba needed a father to keep her in line and in a way Gabriel was like a father for her in how he looked after her.... But actually let's ditch that image because hello they get married! The romantic tension is heavy in this film and probably more so than is necessary and was in the book. Bathsheba and Gabriel so obviously belonged together! It's amazing to me that here Bathsheba was basically handed on a platter a choice of three men and out of all of them she chose the absolute worst. Something my mother pointed out when we watched this was that Sergeant Troy was proud and unwilling to wait for Fanny but Gabriele was the exact opposite and he constantly had to humble himself and was always waiting. The difference between a hero and a villain ladies and gentlemen! It think at the beginning Bathsheba wasn't ready for Gabriel. She needed humbling; there was so much she needed to learn. I love their journey together and while it is kind of sappy this may just be one of my favorite literary romances which may or may have not been mostly exponentiated by this movie. ;) 


The scenery in this film was absolutely gorgeous! It was filmed in England on the beautiful countryside. It was all absolutely beautiful!


I adored the costumes in this film! I'm not sure how accurate they were too the time period (Laurie spoke more to that in her review) but they didn't appear too far off at least. My one qualm with the costuming was that Bathsheba wore pants when riding her horse. Ummm.... no! Here are some of my favorites of Bathsheba's dresses besides of course that blue dress she's wearing in the picture above! 


Lovely! Absolutely lovely! Is it a requirement for period dramas to have gorgeous music because it seems like they all do and this was absolutely no exception! 

There is even a duet sung by Bathsheba and Mr. Boldwood that is lovely! 

Questionable Content

The film is rated PG-13. It has two brief sexual moments but not explicit and in my opinion not too bad and easily fastforwardable (I know that's not a word but it should be). I'm the queen of dimming my computer screen when there's objectionable content and I utilized that method quite effectively with this film. Overall, it's cleaner than I thought it would be but obviously not as clean as I would want it to be. I'd be comfortable showing it to my little sister and just fast forwarding or dimming the screen for those scenes. However, everyone's standards are different so I always recommend IMDB's content advisory/parent's guide which you can view HERE

Overall I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. As I stated at the beginning I'm not positive how accurate it is to the book but even just as a movie it's very enjoyable though I think if you don't know the storyline you might be a little lost at times as it does move fast. 
Have you seen it yet? What did you think? 

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Beautiful Blogger Award

Marianne at Let's Read nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award! Thank you!
Here are the rules:
1. Link to the blogger who has nominated you.... linked above.
2. List 7 random facts about you.
3. Nominate 7 creative, beautiful bloggers and let them know about about the nomination.

Random Facts... I've done lots of random facts in the past with these awards or with tags so instead I'm going to go with random memes/pictures that explain me. ;) 

I'm lazy about tagging/nominating people so just consider yourself awarded if you so chose. :)

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Monday, February 15, 2016

It's Monday! Making a Social Life

So I've been out of nursing school for several months now. During nursing school I had basically no social life. I studied and in my spare time I read, watched TV shows or spent time with my family. That's all I really had time for while I was in nursing school. Now that I'm out of nursing school I've realized that I've forgotten how to have a social life. So slowly but surely I've been working on building relationships with friends, purposely taking the time to hang out with people and going to events. For an introvert that isn't always easy but I have actually really enjoyed being able to spend more time with people. Sure I have my patients to talk to but there's a world of difference between talking to my patient while changing their depends and talking with a friend over coffee.... trust me.

Anyways.... reading.

Finished this Week

  • None, but I picked up some longer books right now so that's part of it. 

Currently Reading 

  • The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss (re-read) (audiobook)
  • The Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  • Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin

Coming Soon

  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr- I really am going to start this one eventually! 
  • Mr. Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange
  • Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (re-read)- Ashley's Laura Ingalls Wilder blog party this past week has really made me crave a re-read of this classic series! :) 

Reviews Posted this Week

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bookshelf Tour Tag

Lover of Lembas tagged me in her Bookshelf Tour Tag! Thank you!
Here are the rules!
  • Once you are tagged, copy and paste the image above into your new post.
  • Show readers your book shelf and explain what books are on there. Pictures are always fun!
  • Tag as many other people as you want and copy-paste these instructions onto your post so they know exactly what to do.
  • Make sure to leave a link to your post on the site you were tagged (for instance, the people tagged below by me should leave a link to their post in the comments here)

My books are extensive and actually at this time I'm out of space! I'm currently working on figuring out how to make more room for another bookshelf. Has lack of room turned off my book buying frenzy.? Not at all! I have one real bookshelf, which I got some years ago. When I first ran out of bookshelf space last year I was scrambling for space. I ended up going to Goodwill and getting one of those spinning metal bookshelves. It's a frightful eyesore but it saved me for a time. Still with both of these I'm now having to start stacking up books in random places as I'm once again out of space.

So here are my bookshelves! They are arranged in alphabetical order by author's last name with fiction first, then non-fiction and then cookbooks. My DVDs have moved over to my little sister's bookshelf due to lack of space. If the books are small enough, are in a series or I own more than one by the author they are more likely to go on my spinning shelf though there are some exceptions. It can be very annoying having to look for books in two different places but I suppose that is the price I must pay for owning so many. ;)

My first shelf. I'm not going to go through book by book because that would probably get tedious but here's the highlight reel. I have the three books in the Little Women series plus An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott. I have copies of all of Jane Austen's novels, a lovely combined copy of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. About a third of my Agatha Christie novels are up there (the rest being on my spinning shelf... we'll get to those in a bit). Then I have two of Wilkie Collins' novels: The Moonstone and The Women in White. And then of course Robinson Crusoe.

My second shelf. This shelf is mostly composed of Dickens' novels. I have almost all of his books. I have a couple Sherlock Holmes books on here. A collection of George Elliot books. A lovely old copy of Captain Horatio Hornblower. Wives and Daughters.

My third shelf. I have a couple Dean Koontz novels. To Kill a Mockinbird. Gone With the Wind. The Scarlet Pimpernel. Ivanhoe. Half of my Harry Potter series are on this shelf and the other half overlaps onto the next shelf. I also have a copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them that I need to get around to reading before the movie comes out!

My fourth shelf. The other half of the Harry Potter series. My absolutely gorgeous splendiferous copy of the complete works of Shakespeare. The Help. Vanity Fair. Lark Rise to Candleford, which I'll read one I'm done with the show! A collection of three Tolstoy novels.... I know one is Anna Karenina and another War and Peace but I don't recall what the other one is. Tolkien's copy of Beowulf. I love the cover of it! I read Beowulf for the first time last year in a different translation (which was an awesome translation) and then I got this copy but have yet to read it. Hopefully this year! Inching in at the end of this shelf are a couple Mark Twain novels.

My fifth shelf. A couple more Mark Tain novels at the beginning. P.G. Wodehouse's The Golf Omnibus (amazingly hilarious book!). That pretty much finishes the fiction on the bookshelf. Then I have my nonfiction. I have the two Who Should We Then Read books by Jan Bloom, which are great reference books. The Valley of Vision (highly recommend!). A Narnia companion book. Some devotional books. Wise Words. Foxes Book of Martyrs. Some R.C. Sproul books. Then to end the shelf I have a bunch of cookbooks. Lying on the shelf unshelled are Quiet and Miniatures and Morals.

My spinning shelf is hard to look at and make any sense but here goes as best as I can.

On this side I have my Chronicles of Prydain, the rest of my Agatha Christie novels, some Zane Grey novels, the Chronicles of Narnia and some Jeff and Michael Shaara books.

Here I have some Beverly Cleary books, Les Mis and Hunchback, the Bourne books.

On this side I have Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, the Amanda Grange Austen heroes diary series, some Brian Jacques books and the Anne of Green Gables Series. At the very bottom my Tolkien books are peeking out. I have The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King, The Silmarillion and The Children of Húrin.

It looks like we have even more Agatha Christe novels here as well as some Koinsburg books, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. And most of the Little House in the Big Woods series.

So that's my bookshelves for now. They're always growing and hopefully I'll actually have a new bookshelf soon so I won't have to feel quite so guilty about buying more books. ;)

If you want to participate in this tag feel free to grab it!

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Book Review- Son

SonFor the Audiobook challenge, Finishing the Series challenge and Library Reading challenge I read (listened to) Lois Lowry's final novel in The Giver Quartet: Son.
Synopsis from Goodreads: When the young girl washed up on their shore, no one knew she had been a Vessel. That she had carried a Product. That it had been carved from her belly. Stolen. Claire had had a son. She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. When he was taken from their community, she knew she had to follow. And so her journey began.But here in this wind-battered village Claire is welcomed as one of their own. In the security of her new home, she is free and loved. She grows stronger. As tempted as she is by the warmth of more human kindness than she has ever known, she cannot stay. Her son is out there; a young boy by now. Claire will stop at nothing to find her child . . . even if it means trading her own life. 
I LOVED this book. In fact I think it was my favorite of the Quartet. I also think it gave me a deeper appreciation for The Giver and I felt like I learned more about that book from Son. Additionally I felt much more was learned about the world that The Giver created, which has fascinating. It was a perfect conclusion to the series.
My favorite part of the book was definitely Claire (or Water Claire.... I like the sound of that a lot). She's a character, like Jonas in The Giver, that you relate to and care about. Her determination to find her son was so inspiring and heartbreaking. I felt like this was the saddest of all the books. I put myself in her shoes and I couldn't imagine how she felt. The journey she goes through is incredible. I loved the time she spent with Einar training to climb the cliff.
I really enjoyed that Lowry went back and created a back store for Gabrielle, the baby from The Giver. It was such an intriguing idea and worked so well. While the story was in a sense about Gabrielle, It was essentially really about Claire... but then again it was really about them both, about their relationship.
Another thing I liked was that Jonas and Kira got together and had started a family. That's such a perfect conclusion for those two characters.
My one real gripe with the book was that it didn't say whether or not Einar and Claire got together and they NEEDED to get together. I actually shouted NO at the audiobook at the line "They would never see each other again." I know that main point of the book was the relationship between Claire and her son and her journey to be reuinted with him but after she found Gabrielle I think they should have gone back to be with Einar. Just saying.
Overall I really enjoyed this book (obviously) and if you liked The Giver definitely finish the series!

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book Review- Messenger

916880For the Library reading challenge, Audiobook Challenge and Finishing the Series Challenge I read (listened) to Lois Lowry's Messenger.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Messenger is the masterful third novel in the Giver Quartet, which began with the dystopian bestseller The Giver. Matty has lived in Village and flourished under the guidance of Seer, a blind man known for his special sight. Village once welcomed newcomers, but something sinister has seeped into Village and the people have voted to close it to outsiders. Matty has been invaluable as a messenger. Now he must risk everything to make one last journey through the treacherous forest with his only weapon, a power he unexpectedly discovers within himself.
I loved Matt in Gathering Blue so I was excited to see him return in Messenger as the main character Matty, an older but still ever fun loving young man. Messenger picks up where Gathering Blue left off in the village that Kira's father resides and where Matty has joined him. It seems such an idyllic village but evil is creeping in the guise of Trade Mart. This book also sees the return of Jonas from The Giver, though now renamed simply "Leader". It was great to see him back and find out what happened to him after the events of The Giver. The story was well told and the mystery surrounding Trade Mart was perfect. When Matty died at the end I was so mad! I loved him! However it did work so I guess I can't complain too much.
Overall it was a beautiful addition to The Giver Quartet.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Book Review- Henry Tilney's Diary

Henry Tilney's Diary (Jane Austen Heroes, #6)For the Shelf Love Challenge and the Mount TBR Pile challenge I read Amanda Grange's novel Henry Tilney's Diary.
Synopsis from Goodreads: A charming retelling of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey--a tale of gothic misunderstandings through Henry Tilney's eyes... At the age of four and twenty, Henry is content with his life as a clergyman, leaving his older brother Frederick to inherit Northanger Abbey. But General Tilney is determined to increase the family's means by having all three of his children marry wealthy partners.During a trip to Bath, Henry meets the delightful Miss Catherine Morland and believes he may have found the woman he's been looking for, although she has no great fortune. When the General takes an unusual liking to Catherine and invites her to visit the Abbey, Henry is thrilled. But just as in the Gothic novels Henry loves, not everything is as it seems.
Henry Tilney is one of my very favorite Austen heroes. Right behind Mr. Knightley I think.... I go back and forth. I think I could most see myself a Henry Tilney though. He's fun, he's hilarious, he's got snark galore and did I mention hilarious? He also loves reading, loves his sister, is kind, discerning and willing to tell the hard truth.
Amanda Grange does a pretty good job of brining this delightful hero back. My main problem with it would be that I never felt like she quite captured Henry's "voice".  She did a pretty good job but not a great job as I felt she did with some of her other books. I did love how she brought out Henry and Eleanor's beautiful brother-sister friendship. The author took a slightly different approach with their brother Frederick which I'm still not sure if I liked or not. It also drew a little on Eleanor's romantic interest which wasn't all bad. I felt like the book wasn't as harsh with General Tilney as it should have been until the end... and then boy was it harsh! Ugh General Tilney! We do not like him.
Overall I did enjoy it. There were definitely some moments when I went awwww and grinned like an idiot. There was one quote about that Isabella Thorpe that I especially liked.
"Miss Thorpe's mouth praise Mr. Morland, but her eyes invite everyone else." 
Spot on!
Read or not? If you're a Northerner Abbey fan... Read!

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Monday, February 8, 2016

It's Monday! Reading and Dancing!

It was a good week overall. I floated to a different unit at work for the first time. I've been terrified of this for awhile but actually it went well. To be honest it was kind of slow so I ended up reading a good quarter of The Old Curiosity Shop during that night. On Saturday some of my siblings and I went Contra dancing, one of my favorite pastimes. It's so much fun plus a workout. :) Now as a reader and a dancer you might suppose I'm straight out of an Austen novel... well obviously! ;)
And one more thing before I get into my reading week but Ashley at A-Z is having a Laura Ingalls Blog Party this week so be sure to go check it out HERE

Currently Reading

New teacups set that were a hand me down
gift from a friend! :)
  • Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin- Still ploughing through this one. It's so good but so long! 
  •  Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss (re-read) (audiobook)- Finally re-reading this one. It wasn't my favorite when I first read it years ago so I'll see how I like it this time. 

Finished this Week

  • Henry Tilney's Diary by Amanda Grange- Another enjoyable entrant in this diary series. 
  • Son by Lois Lowry (audiobook)- I LOVED this book! I was so excited to finish it but the stupid audiobook was taking too long and I just wanted to know what was going to happen! I may or may not have shouted at the audiobook once or twice this past week... 
  • The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens- Probably my least favorite of Dickens' novels but still enjoyable. 

Coming Soon

  • Mr. Knightley's Diary by Amanda Grange- The last of the diary series. 
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr- I was waiting to finish The Old Curiosity Shop before I started this one as I didn't want to have two thick books going at the same time. Now that The Old Curiosity Shop is done I'll be starting this one soon. 

Reviews posted this week 

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Laura Ingalls Blog Party 2016

Ashely at A-Z is hosting a Laura Ingalls Blog Party this week! Be sure to go check it out HERE. I love reading Ashley's blog so you really should just go check her blog out anyways because it's awesome! ;)
Here are some fun tag questions to go along with the party.

1. How did you discover Little House? I grew up reading the books.
2. Which Little House series have you read? Which are you favorite? (Laura, Martha, Rose, etc.) I've read all of them I think. At least all my library had. I've definitely read all of Laura's multiple times and then the others only once. My favorites are Laura.
3. Have you read any "extra" Little House books? (non "canon", cookbooks, song books, craft books, little kid books, etc.) I know I checked out a Little House cookbook as a kid from the library but I don't think anything else.
4. Have you read any biographies/autobiographies about Laura or any of the Little House girls? Not than I remember.
5. If you could be in any character's place, who would you choose and why? Laura's because then I'd get to marry Almanzo. ;)
6. What's your favorite Little House ship? (AKA couple) Laura and Almanzo! I also liked Caroline and Charles a lot though too but it's been a longer time since I've read those books.
7. What's your favorite Little House book? Cover? Favorite book These Happy Golden Years. Cover..... I think the one for Little House in the Book Woods and also the one for These Happy Golden Years.
8. If you could invite any secondary character from any of the Little House books over for dinner, who would you choose and why? Nellie Olson... because I think it would be interesting and it would probably humor me.
9. Have you watched the Little House TV show? If so, do you enjoy it? No not really. I've seen a few random episodes and they were okay.
10. If you could watch a YouTube miniseries on any Little House book or series, which would you choose and how would the basic plot go? Never though about that before. I don't know.

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Book Review- What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality

What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?For the non-fiction reading challenge and the mount TBR reading challenge I read Kevin DeJong's book What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality.
Synopsis from Goodreads: In this timely book, award-winning author Kevin DeYoung challenges each of us--the skeptic and the seeker, the certain and the confused--to take a humble look at God's Word regarding the issue of homosexuality.After examining key biblical passages in both the Old and New Testaments and the Bible's overarching teaching regarding sexuality, DeYoung responds to popular objections raised by Christians and non-Christians alike, making this an indispensable resource for thinking through one of the most pressing issues of our day.
I absolutely loved this book. Kevin DeYoung does an incredible job laying the information out in a clear and concise manner. This is a Christian book and it addresses the issue of homosexuality from a biblical viewpoint but as the author himself points out it is applicable to read for anyone who wants to learn more about this issue.
First it addresses all of the Bible verses having directly to do with homosexuality and the arguments that people will use to disagree with it and then he refutes those disagreements and points how those verses are still applicable and relevant. Next he discusses the most common arguments people use for homosexuality still being okay. These include arguments about God being a God of love, being on the wrong side of history and what about gluttony and divorce? These are all carefully looked into and discussed. I was very impressed at how thorough DeYoung was. It was obvious he had exhaustively researched the subject but then had meticulously combed through all the information and condensed it into this book. At the end of the book he has a list of other great books to go to if you want to learn more as well. One of the great things about this book is that while yes it is looking at homosexuality specifically it is also looking at Christianity overall.
I entirely enjoyed this book and no matter where you are with your view on homosexuality I highly recommend this book but I especially recommend it to Christians wanting to further understand this issue from a biblical viewpoint.
To close here are a few of my favorite quotes.

"Agree to disagree," sounds like a humble "meet you in the middle" compromise, but it is a subtle way of telling conservative Christians that homosexuality is not a make-or-break issue and we are wrong to make it so. No one would think of proposing a third way if the sin were racism or human trafficking. To countenance such a move would be a sign of moral bankruptcy. Faithfulness to the Word of God compel us to view sexual immorality with the same seriousness. Living an ungodly life is contrary to the sound teaching that defines the Christian. 

When we tolerate the doctrine which affirms homosexual behavior, we are tolerating a doctrine which leads people further from GOd. This is not he mission Jesus gave his disciples when he told them to teach the nations everything he commanded. The biblical teaching is consistent and unambiguous: homosexual activity is not God's will for his people. Silence in the face of such clarity is not prudence, and hesitation in light of such frequency is not patience. The Bible says more than enough about homosexual practice for us to say something too.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review- Matilda

MatildaFor the Shelf Love Challenge and the Mount TBR Pile Challenge I read Roald Dahl's novel Matilda.
Synopsis from Goodreads: Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she's knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she's a super-nerd and the teacher's pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda's world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there's the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Mrs. ("The") Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.She warms up with some practical jokes aimed at her hapless parents, but the true test comes when she rallies in defense of her teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, against the diabolical Trunchbull. 
I can't believe it took me so long to read this book! I'm not sure how I missed it as a kid as I read many of Roald Dahl's other novels. This, though, I think is his best. A book loving little girl who's reading all the great classics when she's four. Yes please! I love little Matilda and Miss Honey. They're so perfect. Matilda's parents I CAN'T STAND! Oh my goodness they were so aggravating! I can't exactly approve of Matilda's pranks against them but they were quite humorous. :)
The Truchbull was a perfect villain. Evil, diabolical... kind of like Harry Potter's Professor Umbridge. She knew no bounds. The story was fun and humorous but also contained some wisdom. A great children's book. I'm glad I discovered this one. :)

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Book Review- Edmund Bertram's Diary

Edmund Bertram's Diary (Jane Austen Heroes, #4)For the Shelf Love challenge and Mount TBR challenge I read Amanda Grange's novel Edmund Bertram's Diary.
Synopsis from Goodreads: The retelling of Jane Austen?s novel Mansfield Park from the point of view of Edmund Bertram. At ten years of age, Fanny Price came to live with Edmund Bertram and his family at Mansfield Park. Far from the brat Edmund expected, Fanny became his closest confidante and dearest friend. But when the fashionable Crawford siblings? Henry and Mary come to town, they captivate the Bertram family. Henry embarks on a scandalous flirtation with Edmund's sister, who is already betrothed to another, while Edmund is enchanted by Mary's beauty and wit. But when it appears that Mary is not all she seems to be, Edmund will turn to the one woman who has always been at his side to find the happiness he deserves Fanny.
Edmund Bertram always frustrated me as a hero but I always did like him. This book kind of helped solidify that liking. Sure I'm still frustrated he liked Mary but I will admit she is cleverly deceptive and quite charming. But you should still have seen through her Edmund! I guess though Lizzie didn't see through Wickham....
I digress though.
One of my favorite parts of this book was how it pointed out the repercussions of the play. At face value the play might not seem like such a bad thing... especially in the present day. However the book shows clearly how because of the plan the characters were all tempted into various sins. Sure you can't blame the play for it all but facilitated the sin. I'm actually surprised Edmund didn't write to his father.... that's what I would have done in that situation I think. But maybe that commentary belongs in a review of Mansfield Park. ;)
Overall I enjoyed it quite a bit. I was just glad when Edmund woke up and realized he loved Fanny...... like duh! ;)

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Review- Gathering Blue

Gathering BlueFor the Finishing the Series challenge, Library Challenge and the Audiobook challenge I read (listened to) Lois Lowry's novel Gathering Blue, which is the second book in the Giver quartet.
Goodreads Synopsis: Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg, lives in a world where the weak are cast aside. She fears for her future until she is spared by the all-powerful Council of Guardians. Kira is a gifted weaver and is given a task that no other community member can do. While her talent keeps her alive and brings certain privileges, Kira soon realizes she is surrounded by many mysteries and secrets. No one must know of her plans to uncover the truth about her world and see what places exist beyond.
I actually liked this better than The Giver. It's the truth.
The story really appealed to me and while I maybe opening up a can of worms here it really made think of abortion. The excuses that the townspeople made to have Kira executed were exactly like the excuses I've heard for abortion. It was really sad and disturbing.
I loved the character of Kira and the supporting cast... especially Matt... he' so sweet. :) There were many clever twists throughout the book. Most of them I saw right before the reveal.... so not too impressive on my part. ;) There's so much potential for more with this book and as with The Giver it left me wanting more. I'm excited to read the rest of the series!
Recommended! :)

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Life According to Literature

I saw this fun meme over at Edge of the Precipice and just had to steal it! The rule is to use books that you read in the last year but since it is the beginning of a year I'll be including books from last year and what I've read so far this year.

Describe yourself: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

How do you feel today: Matilda by Roald Dahl 

Describe where you currently live:  Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy- Not literally of course but I think it invokes the proper image. :) 

If you could go anywhere, you would go to:  Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery 

Your favorite form of transportation:  Horse of a Different Color by Ralph Moody- Because that's slightly confusing let me explain. In the books Ralph always is a horse guy but then he gets a car and takes up more than just horse work. They call the car a horse of a different color. 

Your best friend is:  Beloved by Toni Morrison- Not at all like the character of Beloved in the book but she is beloved. :) 

You and your friends are:  Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace 

What's the weather like:  All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Remarque- We're having great weather right now in Kansas. It was in the sixties the last couple days. Of course it's Kansas so this next week will probably be snow and rain. 

You fear:  The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner 

What's the best advice you have to give:  Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham  

Thought for the day:  Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 

How you would like to die:  Peace Like a River by Leif Enger 

Your souls present condition:  Trusting God by Jerry Bridges 

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Monday, February 1, 2016

It's Monday! Gershwin!

My new hat... the perfect accessory
for a night listening to Gershwin.  
This past week was pretty crazy with work but then Friday evening I went out with a bunch of friends to an absolutely delightful Gershwin concert. We started out our evening at an ice cream place, because all good evenings begin with ice cream ;). Then was the concert! It was superb! Our local orchestra played the music and they brought in a Broadway female singer and a Broadway male singer and dancer. It was all superb but I was definitely in raptures over the dancing! It was such a fun evening.
Reading has been a little slower this week. I'm not finding The Old Curiosity Shop as engaging as other Dickens' novels have been for me so it's been slower going. I'm still working on catching up with reviews as well. Slowly but surely! :)

Currently Reading 

  • Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin
  • The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
  • Henry Tilney's Diary by Amanda Grange
  • Son by Lois Lowry (audiobook)

Finished this Week

  • What does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality by Kevin DeJong- Excellent book and hopefully a full review coming soon. :)
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • Messenger by Lois Lowry (audiobook) 

Coming Soon

  • Mr. Knightley's Diary
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr 

Reviews Posted this Week

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